Before Brian Rodriguez started his career in construction, you could find him defying gravity and studying the unknowns of the universe. He shares his approach to project management and the more earthbound challenges he works on today.
What is something people may not know about you?
During my undergrad I was a research assistant in the astronomy department at New Mexico State University and published two papers. I spent six months data capturing and processing for the publication, “The Behavior of the Optical and X-Ray Emission from Scorpius X-1” which is related to high energy emissions from that star. I spent a year on the second publication, “The Origin of Cyclic Period Changes in Close Binaries: The Case of the Algol Binary WW Cygni” which is an eclipsing binary star. I would stay up every night over the summer collecting data through telescopes on campus. I also attended the NASA Reduced gravity research program in Houston, TX, and got to experience weightlessness on a parabolic flight path. Through this program I met other students from all over the country.
What got you into the construction industry?
I grew up in construction. One of my grandfathers was a mason, and the other was in drywall construction. My dad also owned a construction company and I worked with him as a laborer. They inspired me to choose engineering as my major. I later became an Engineer in Training for the State of New Mexico. During that time, I worked as an engineer and oversaw a project north of Santa Fe. The many roles I’ve had include: Heavy Civil Contractor, Assistant Superintendent, Project Manager, and now Project Director.
What do you like most about what you do?
I like seeing the process of a project getting completed and building something new that the public can use. Every day is different, every project is different, and I get to work with a variety of different people and personalities. Not only do I get to build things, but I get to build relationships as well. I also love being able to drive around and point things out to my kids and tell them I was a part of building it.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
To recognize that as project managers we not only help the project, but we help our team function and collaborate smoothly. By building a strong team and using each other’s strengths, we can achieve great things. I also believe success begins with understanding that you’ll never know everything because you’re always learning. As a constant student, you need to be open to all information in order to grow.